From left: Sophomore Tristan Rai, senior Matthew Raposo and sophomore Andrew Pettit stand at practice Wednesday at Banko Field pose at practice Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2017, at Banko Field. The three attackmen are leading scorers this semester. (Toni Isreal/B&W Staff)

Lehigh attackmen embrace challenge against Boston University

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As Lehigh prepares to go head-to-head with Boston University this Saturday, the Mountain Hawks are eager to face off against the Terriers in a game with important implications for the Patriot League Tournament.

Sophomore attackman Andrew Pettit said he’s expecting the game to be close.

“Heading into our (Boston U) game, a big goal is to make sure we take care of all the little things,” Pettit said. “Making sure our stick work is great on offense or making sure we are communicating on defense could be the difference between the offense scoring a goal or the defense letting up on one.”

Fellow sophomore attackman Tristan Rai agreed with Pettit’s prediction of the game and said Boston U is a good team.

“The Patriot League is wide open right now,” Rai said. “It’s been proven that anyone can beat anyone.”

Rai said the team doesn’t have room to be dropping the ball like it did against Navy if it wants to make it into the Patriot League Tournament.

Pettit, Rai and senior Matt Raposo have found out in wins against teams like Jacksonville University, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Colgate University that working together unselfishly and using the chemistry they’ve built to their advantage is the key to their success. Pettit said teams that get everybody in the offense involved are much harder to defend.

“We each have different skill sets that compliment each other, like Pettit’s shooting, (Rai)’s overall game sense and my dodging,” Raposo said. “As a dodger, playing with guys like Pettit and (Rai) makes my life a million times easier by seemingly always being open for a shot or looking to play a two-man game.”

Coach Kevin Cassese said the chemistry the three attackmen have found together is one of the offensive unit’s greatest strengths.

“We think all three of our current attackmen are special individuals, and they all have different strengths, but what makes them shine is the way they play off each other,” Cassese said.

Rai said they try to move the ball quickly on offense and not have it stuck in anyone’s stick for too long. He said the attack style is creative and uses all of the attackmen’s different skill sets.

“This year we’ve had success by trusting one another and having that chemistry between us,” Rai said.

Lehigh senior attacker Matt Raposo winds up to shoot during Lehigh’s game against NJIT on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at the Ulrich Sports Complex. The team will play Boston University at 3 p.m. on April 1, 2017, at the home Ulrich Sports Complex. (Erik Thomas/B&W Staff)

Raposo said after graduating such a large contributing class of seniors last year, the team is much different. He said the team has developed a faster style of play that uses the stick skills it hasn’t necessarily had in past years.

Heading into the game against the Terriers, the attackmen will try to continue using their cohesiveness and trust among each other to find success.

Cassese said the three attackmen have chemistry in all facets of the game. He said with consistency and collective collaboration in those areas, they will be able to attack the Terriers’ defense.

All three attackmen are up to Saturday’s challenge.

“We know that we have to come in with a more severe sense of urgency than we’ve played with all season,” Raposo said. “(Boston U) is a team that always tries to match our energy and be as scrappy as us, so it will be important to nip that in the bud early and compete as hard as we can to win.”

The team will face Boston U this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

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